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Differentiating Job Costing From Process Costing


Differentiating Job Costing From Process Costing

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process costing system

At the Peterbilt factory in Denton, Texas, the company can build over 100,000 unique versions of their semitrucks without making the same truck twice. Process costing is a type of operation costing which is used to ascertain the cost of a product at each process or stage of manufacture. CIMA defines process costing as “The costing method applicable where goods or services result from a sequence of continuous or repetitive operations or processes. Costs are averaged over the units produced during the period”. Process costing is suitable for industries producing homogeneous products and where production is a continuous flow. A process can be referred to as the sub-unit of an organization specifically defined for cost collection purpose.

What are the different costing systems?

The main costing methods available are process costing, job costing and direct costing. Each of these methods apply to different production and decision environments.

This step involves the identification of inventory at the end of each process. The organisation can identify such inventory either by physically counting the units or through a software inbuilt in the manufacturing process. The costs of inventory under each process are also identified at this change. Standard cost assumes the cost of certain materials as per management estimate. Any difference in standard & actual costs is recorded separately under variance account. Process costing is most commonly used when goods are mass produced and when the costs linked to individual units cannot be easily distinguished from each other.

It assigns average costs to each unit, and is the opposite extreme of Job costing which attempts to measure individual costs of production of each unit. It is a method of assigning costs to units of production in companies producing large quantities of homogeneous products.. Note in the above graphic the familiar inventory categories relating to raw materials, work in process, and finished goods. However, rather than observing work in process as being made up of many individual/discrete jobs, see that it instead consists of individual/discrete processes like melting, skimming, and extruding. Ore is introduced in the melting stage, alloys in the skimming stage, etc. .

Timesheet Integrations

In addition to setting the sales price, managers need to know the cost of their products in order to determine the value of inventory, plan production, determine labor needs, and make long- and short-term plans. They also need to know the costs to determine when a new product should be added or an old product removed from production. Using a costing system ultimately gives you better information about your company and operations than your competitors. By understanding all of the actual costs required to deliver your products or services, you know exactly where you stand financially so you can be confident in your pricing and profit generation. When ABC Clothing starts production on a particular batch of shirts, costs are tracked in the work-in-progress account. Costs in this account are actual costs which may differ from your budget. Overhead costs are the most difficult to assign to products, and many businesses struggle to analyze these costs.

process costing system

As noted above, all manufacturing costs are accumulated by debits to Raw Materials Inventory, Factory Labor, and Manufacturing Overhead. These costs are then assigned to the same accounts in both costing systems—Work in Process, Finished Goods Inventory, and Cost of Goods Sold. The methods of assigning costs, however, differ significantly. These differences are explained and illustrated later in the chapter. You may find that the case for your business is clear cut, and that one or the other of job/process costing is clearly the superior choice for you. Or you might be in a situation where some mixing and matching is required, if you are dealing in both uniform products and more customisable, unique orders. Some industries will have a clear leaning towards one, some will be more balanced.

Standard Cost

Harold Averkamp has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. He is the sole author of all the materials on AccountingCoach.com. We work under the assumption that every product we produce has the same cost as the other ones. Our systems have detected unusual traffic activity from your network.

The similarities between job order cost systems and process cost systems are the product costs of materials, labor, and overhead, which are used determine the cost per unit, and the inventory values. The differences between the two systems are shown in Table 5.1. Regardless of the costing system used, manufacturing costs consist of direct material, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead. Figure 5.2 shows a partial organizational chart for Rock City Percussion, a drumstick manufacturer. In this example, two groups—administrative and manufacturing—report directly to the chief financial officer . Each group has a vice president responsible for several departments. The organizational chart also shows the departments that report to the production department, illustrating the production arrangement.

Basic Managerial Accounting Terms Used In Job Order Costing And Process Costing

The value of units representing abnormal gain is debited to process accounts and credited to an abnormal gain account. The total cost of production is divided among each process on a suitable basis. In a job order cost system, only one work in process account is used. In a process cost system, multiple work in process accounts are used. A company may manufacture thousands or millions of units of product in a given period of time.

If the equivalent of 100,000 units were processed in June, the per unit costs will be $1.50 for direct materials and $2.25 for conversion costs. These costs will then be transferred to second department where its processing costs will be added. Combining standard cost accounting systems with process costing systems also has some disadvantages. First, while actual cost changes may occur during the year, the standard cost remains the same. This increases the variance reported during the remainder of the year.

How To Do Intercompany Accounting

In such industries the production cycle is standardised & even the quantum of the normal loss of inputs & outputs are also quantified earlier. In case of abnormal expense, it is a charge to profit & loss account directly and not to any individual process. Tracking all costs as a production cost, including non-production costs such as overhead, inflates the production price. Leaving out non-production costs, under-costs the production price. This will have a lower price, but can potentially lower a company’s profits. In job order cost production, the costs can be directly traced to the job, and the job cost sheet contains the total expenses for that job. Process costing is optimal when the costs cannot be traced directly to the job.

process costing system

That way trade contractors and subcontractors can make real-time financial decisions in the field, can log job costs quickly, and search them at a later date. To get the detailed reporting provided by job costing, employees must keep accurate records.

The last process also transfers the finished goods to finished stock account at a price higher than cost. Some process industries transfer the finished goods from one process to the next process at a price above cost. The excess of the transfer price over cost represents inter­-process profit. Substandard materials, breakdown, accidents, wrong plant design, carelessness, etc. are the abnormal loss. They widely vary from industry to industry, depending upon the nature of materials used. It is easy to allocate the expenses to processes to have accurate costs. The finished products are identical & cannot be easily distinguished unless batch coding is done.

Steps In Process Costing

Occupancy costs include many common costs, like heat, air conditioning, water & sewer, lights, cleaning and maintenance, insurance, security and other related costs. In overall profitability, when selling millions of units of product a month. By submitting this form, you agree that PLANERGY may contact you occasionally via email to make you aware of PLANERGY products and services.

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Just In Time Inventory Management

If the function has work‐in‐process inventory at the beginning of the period, the number of equivalent units must be calculated. Equivalent units represent the number of units that could have been 100% completed during the period. For example, if two employees each work 20 hours a week, this is the equivalent of one full‐time employee . On a production line, if one product is 40% complete and a second one is 60% complete, this is the equivalent of 100% complete for one unit . This number is needed to spread the costs of the function over all the units worked on during the period. For example, if a company started 1,000 units of product during the period and at the end of the period these were 40% completed, the equivalent units would be 400 (1,000 units × 40% complete).

Accountants compute the cost per unit by first accumulating costs for the entire period for each process or department. Second, they divide the accumulated costs by the number of units produced in that process or department. The typical manner in which costs flow in process costing is that direct material costs are added at the beginning of the process, while all other costs are gradually added over the course of the production process.

The classic example of a process costing environment is a petroleum refinery, where it is impossible to track the cost of a specific unit of oil as it moves through the refinery. EXERCISE All three of these companies manufacture large numbers of relatively homogeneous products (i.e., lumber and paper). Therefore, process costing is an appropriate productcosting system. Usually, there is some loss of materials during the manufacturing stages.

The number of units is determined separately for each function using the actual number of units completed and transferred out of the function adjusted for partially completed units that were not transferred. This calculated number of units used is called equivalent units. A company can use several different methods of process costing to determine the total costs incurred before, during and after production, as well as the total amount of units produced. Standard process costing may be used for simply calculating production costs, while averaging assigns costs to specific units of production, and first-in, first-out calculates unit costs as they are started and completed. The cost flows in a process costing system are similar to the cost flows in a job costing system.

As many subcontractors and trade contractors migrate from paper to digital project management, it’s important to know whether your project management system can manage it. Some project management systems do offer job costing, which can be a useful tool. The best project management systems will integrate with many accounting packages so users can use the best software for them. By integrating with accounting software, it reduces double data entry and provides one hub for all data.

  • When she sends a bid to a potential client, her direct costs include materials and labor expenses.
  • The expected cost is then compared to actual costs, and the difference is charged to a variance account.
  • Through the implementation of a process costing system, a company will ensure that every department, regardless of function, operates in a uniform manner.
  • As indicated earlier, the accumulation of the costs of materials, labor, and manufacturing overhead is the same in a process cost system as in a job order cost system.
  • Each job is different, depending on the size of the home, whether or not the items are packed ahead of time or to be packed in advance of the move, and the distance between homes.

Process costing entails handing off accumulated costs from one department to the next. Operation costing is a hybrid product-costing system that is used when conversion activities are very similar across product lines, but the direct materials differ significantly.


Conversion costs are accumulated by department, and process-costing methods are used to assign these costs to products. In contrast, direct-material costs are accumulated by job order or by batch, and job-order costing is used to assign direct-material costs to products. Manufacturing departments are often organized by the various stages of the production process. Each department, or process, will have its own work in process inventory account, but there will only be one finished goods inventory account.

  • The job order costing uses the same approach of assigning overheads to the individual jobs that process costing system uses to assign to a whole production process.
  • Process costing is optimal when the costs cannot be traced directly to the job.
  • We determine the costs of each Process that is part of our production cycle.
  • Process 2 then takes additional input of material, labor, and overheads and then gives the output in the form of completed units or finished goods.
  • This we can achieve by improving the efficiency of our workers, or by introducing better equipment.
  • We start by evaluating the cost flow of inventory within the business.
  • Picking the costing method that best reflects our firm’s manufacturing process is critical to understanding our cost structure.

Job costing, on the other hand, requires business owners to manage multiple individual projects. The majority of companies produce more than one product, and they use process costing by making batches of identical products, or at least highly similar products. Batch 1 might be 1,000 solid black masks, while batch 2 is 1,500 red and white striped masks. We explore process costing further in Chapter 4 “How Is Process Costing Used to Track Production Costs?”. A process costing accumulates costs and assigns them at the end of an accounting period. Work in process, June 1…………………… Costs incurred during June……………….